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The world was messed up when Allana woke up.  People were talking and laughing but by the deepness of the laughs, it was just men.  Maybe it had been a dream and they had come to a village.  But when she opened her eyes, she was on her knees and she could not bring her hand to her sides.    She looked around.  They were tied to a wooden pole that stuck deep into the ground.  She shook her head and looked around.  No it had not been a dream.  The Black Knights had really kidnaped them and she was now a prisoner.  She looked over and saw Professor Billtion in a cage made with thick wooden poles.  He was lying down on his side, his back facing her and Allana hoped that the blow to the head hadn’t killed him.  Allana got to her feet  and inched the rope that held her hands to the pole up.  No one had appeared to realize that she was conscious.  Something else was missing.  What was it?  Oh yah, where was Crash?  There were several tents set up and the one nearest her was big.  She heard people talking in there but couldn’t  tell what they were saying.  Oh how her head hurt!  What was she going to do?  What were they going to do to her?  Jed and Jessa must have gotten back to the school by now and told everyone what had happened.  Then the tent door opened.  Three men came out in and one of them had been the man that had been standing in the road and had taken them captives.  Then to her alarm, Crash came out behind him!  What?!  How was that possible?!  That blow to the head must have been harder than she had thought.  The strange man saw she was awake and pointed her out to Crash.  The man said something to Crash then they both laughed, then Crash walked over to Allana and the man went off in the other direction with the others.  Allana didn’t know what to do or say.  She was in shock.  But she wasn’t stupid and she knew what was going on.  Crash had betrayed them. 

“Sleep well?”  He asked with a small smile on his face. 

Smug little imp.  Allana thought.  “Stop messing around.  Get to the point.  How long have I been out, where are we, what are you doing?” 

“I’d say you’ve been out for…”  He looked at the sun.  “At least two hours.”

 “Next question.”  Allana said.  

“As you wish, we are in the Forbidden Forest but we will be moving out tomorrow.  And can’t see that this was all a set up?” 

“For what?”  She asked. 

Crash leaned so close to her face that she could have hit him with her head if she tried.  He stared deep into her dark gray eyes.  She glared back.  “I’ve got nothing that you would want.”  She said.  

“How stupid do you think I am, Allana?” 

He knows!  She gasped.  “How do you know my name?!” 

“Oh please your highness, you don’t think my father doesn’t have spies set up every where?  We’ve been planning this for quite a while.” 

“Let me guess, to get my mother to give Morin control of Gilmore?” 

“Bingo.” He repiled with a smerk. No, this couldn’t be happening!  She had promised Joshua that she would be a good ruler someday and he had believed her.  Her face clouded over with anger, but she felt lost inside, she had failed.  But he seemed to have read her mind.  “Now when I saw that, you did bring up some problems but they were small so you didn’t totally fail, and hey, if you work with Father, he may let you live as a slave. Which is a lot better than being dead when you think about it.  No need to cry about it.” 

“Oh wonderful, and maybe you can ask him to pay me.”  Allana said sarcastically.

“Not when you say like that.”  He said.  Had the ropes been cut, Allana would have set on him like a hunting dog to a rabbit,  killing him if no one could get her off.  She lunged at him but he was still an inch away. But Crash knew how far she could go and stayed where he was.

 “I will never work for anyone!”  She hissed in his face.  “And my mother isn’t stupid enough to give up the kingdom to anyone like Morin.” 

Crash went around and pulled the ropes closer to the pole.  This made her come back but before she could pull away, he grabbed her upper left arm, squeezed it hard and whispered in her ear.  “I think for the life of her only child, she will give us anything.  Now tell me Allana, do you think I’m wrong?”

 Her heart melted in fear and anger.  Crash was right.  She would give in because Allana was her weakness.  But the princess wasn’t going to give up just yet.  She couldn’t completely give up hope just yet.  Because it was hope that people live off of.  Hers was small, but she knew that in some way, she would win from this more than he would.  He let her go and began to walk away.

 “This plan of yours will never work.”  She called after him. 

Crash knew she was baiting him he stopped and turned around.   “You’re the only daughter of Maria and the late Joshua Hiller.  Your mother loves you more than any other person in the world.  I should add we have the most powerful force of dark magic. Where is our weakness?”  

He was right.  They did have the upper hand of the plan.  “It’s not your weakness; it’s what you don’t have.  Love and sacrifice.   As much as my mother has lost, we made some plans when I left to join the Academy.  She knew that my life would be at risk.  And like you said, ther are spies everywhere.  In the end, it’s better if only one of us has to die to save the lives of all the peopel in Gilmore, and you know that.” 

Crash didn’t like this. His cold, icy blue eyes snapped with fire.  “We’ll see about that.”  He said and walked away, ticked.  

Allana smiled after him.  He knew she was right, but then, that was the bad thing.  She was right.  Or would Maria crumble and hand the kingdom over to Morin for Allana’s life?  She hoped not. 

“You did well.”  She heard Richard’s raspy voice from his cage. 

She looked over at him.  He had a nice purple spot on his head the size of a small rock.  “You’ve made a new problem in their plan.” 

“It’s not much.”  Allana said.  “Are you all right sir?”  She asked. 

“Sacrifice is a strong thing my dear and something that not even death can break.  I’m fine, but my head hurts.” 

“What are we going to do?”  Allana pleaded

“We will leave with them.”  He smiled.  “We have the upper hand, for now Allana.” 

“Have you known my name for a long time or did you just hear it when we were talking.”  Allana asked.

“Oh I’ve known your real name for quite some time now and always hope princess, for hope is the only thing that keeps people going.” 


Night came and to Allana’s shock, they didn’t put her in any type of cage.  “But what if a wild animal come and eats me?! ”  She yelled at Gothmore, who had been the man that had started all this trouble. 

“We’ve got a force field up, so nothing is getting in here.  Plus, the Prince didn’t like the way you talked to him.”  Crash, of course.  She hadn’t even had anything to eat and she was starving.  Mental note to self:  I’m going to kill him if I ever get out of this.  Allana thought. 

How was she going to sleep?  Her hands were still tied behind her.  She did some bending, fidgeting, and twisting here and there but in the end she found a way to sleep that wasn’t the best but she’d put up with it.  She slide down and sat on the ground and looked up into the sky.  Did Maria know that her daughter was now as good as dead?  Did Jed and Jessa ever make in back to the school?  What was in the letter Gothmore had given Jessa?  Would she live to see her family again?  She hung her head and squeezed her eyes shut, but no tears came.  She wasn’t ready to cry yet.

Crash lay down in on his make shift bed.  It had been a long and successful day.  They had Allana.  They had Richard.  Now he could go home.  Tomorrow he would see his mother and father, Seth, and Percy.  Home.  He smiled at the thought.  He had sent a hawk to Morin with a note that told him that all had been done as planned and that they would be home before dinner, at the latest.  He closed his eyes and fell asleep.

It was dark out when Jed and Jessa reached the school.  Martha came running out to meet them.  “For goodness sakes!  Where have you been?!  Wait…..”  She said looking at the two when there should have been five.  “Where are the other?” 

“We met the Black Knights and they took them captive!”  Jessa said getting off her horse and giving Martha the letter.  “One of the leaders gave this to me.  It’s for David but it might be the same if I give it to you.”  Martha’s heart was beating like crazy. The look on the twins’ faces weren’t helping.  She opened the letter.


Tell Maria that she will never see her daughter again.  Unless she gives up Gilmore to me than I guess we can work something out.  She has 3 days to think about it before her daughter dies.


Martha felt tears come to her eyes.  She handed the letter Jessa and she read it too.  “We need to show this to David and Max. Let Maria know what has happened.”


Maria couldn’t sleep that night.  She had been awakened to read a letter sent from her husband’s killer.  He had Allana and was going to kill her.  And there was nothing she could do about it.  Maria had promised her that she wouldn’t give in to something like this.  And Maria always kept her promises. “Oh Allana,” She said though her tears.  “I’m so sorry.”   She buried her head in her pillows and she wondered what her husband would have done.  “Oh Joshua, what am I doing wrong?!” 

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